Gallery: 10 Easy Stir-in Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese Variations

  • Pizza Mac

    Mama mia, that's a spicy macaroni! For this pizza mac, brown off some hot italian sausage (or if you're not exactly the picante type, mild is fine), then cook some sliced pepperoni and soppressata in the hot fat until it crisps and curls. Toss it all together with your mac & cheese, along with some diced tomatoes, sliced olives, sliced pepperoncini, and oh, what heck, some extra handfuls of mozzarella, parm, and basil. This is what happens when the moon hits your eye like a big bowl o' mac.

    Spamac & Cheese

    Got a hot date with the new girl/boy and want to woo them with Spam? What better way to say I want you than by adding a handful of perfectly chopped chives to your Spamac & cheese? What's that? They don't like Spam? In that case, perhaps you should be questioning whether or not they are good enough for you. Then eat all the Spam yourself.

    Ham and Peas

    There's a reason classics are classics, and nothing goes better with cheesy mac than peas and pork. The best part? You don't even need to cook'em. Just stir in a cup or so of frozen peas defrosted under running water, and some chunks of good ham. Wanna get extra fancy? Go with the prosciutto. But don't blame me if tall, dark, handsome women (or men) come knocking at your door in droves.

    Green Chile Chicken Mac

    Half way between soup and stew the way a good chile verde should be, a sort-of-real Mexican fiesta is just a few cans and boxes away. Cook up a box of mac and cheese as directed, then stir in some shredded chicken meat (you can pick it off a cooked rotisserie chicken), a can of chopped green chiles, and a cup of salsa verde. Top the whole thing with a handful of shredded jack cheese, sliced scallions, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and sombreros.

    Buffalo Chicken Mac

    We all know that Max is a fan of the buffalo, and personally, I can't get enough of Frank's. I put that s*&t on everything. Buffamac & cheese is as easy as adding some shredded chicken, a good pour of buffalo sauce, and a handful of crumbled blue cheese. Beer and celery optional.

    Bacon and Pimento Mac

    Nothin' says lovin' like truckloads of thick diced bacon. For this variant, cook up some bacon until nice and crisp in a skillet (we used slab bacon cut into 1/2-inch lardons). Use that rendered bacon fat in place butter with your standard mac & cheese. Just before serving, stir back in the bacon along with a can of chopped, drained pimentos, a sprinkle of parsley, and plenty of ground black pepper. A sunny side up egg wouldn't hurt.

    Burger Mac

    Everyone loves cheeseburger dip. Everyone loves mac & cheese. Put the two together, and what do you have? You do the math.

    Brown some ground beef in a skillet, make your mac & cheese, then stir in the beef, a can of ro*tel tomatoes, and a handful of sliced scallions. Pickledjalapeños if you want bonus points from the chiliheads.

    Spinach and Chickpeas

    A date-worthy vegetarian mac & cheese made by combining standard mac with a can of drained chickpeas, some chopped blanched (or microwaved or frozen) spinach, and a sprinkle of pimentón de la Vera; Spanish smoked paprika.

    Chipotle Black Bean Mac

    No surprises here. Chopped chipotles and creamy oozy cheese are a natural combo, and black beans seem to fit nicely into that bowl. If you want to spice it up even more, stir in some fresh or pickled chopped chilies for extra heat. ¡Ay caramba!

    Nutella and Chocolate Mac

    We couldn't very well leave you without dessert, could we? So we cheated a bit here and got rid of the cheese sauce, but there should be more desserts made with pasta. Macaroni stirred into warm nutella until it melts, sprinkled with hazelnuts and chunks of good chocolate.